In this post, I am going to share some suggestions for those who are interested in using Twitter to promote their blogs and recognize that their low follower numbers are a barrier to doing so. Since the effective use of Twitter to promote one's blog is a surprisingly complicated subject, I am going to limit myself to some of the easier initial steps one should take and save the more advanced strategies later posts (that is your cue to subscribe to Atheist Revolution if you have not already done so).
Start with Your Twitter Profile
Before doing anything else, log in to Twitter from their website and take a critical look at your profile (once you log in, click on your Avatar in the upper right-hand corner and select "Profile"). The reason this is so important is that this is the page people will visit when deciding whether to follow you. You know how important first impressions are, right? You need to make a good one. There are three things I would suggest looking at to make sure you are not missing any opportunities or doing anything that will make others less likely to follow you.
Make sure you have replaced the default Twitter avatar with something. This could be a professional headshot, a graphic logo you've designed, or whatever else you'd like. But since we are assuming that you want to promote your blog, this should ideally be connected to your brand. What I mean by that is that your Twitter avatar should probably resemble the branding you have used on your blog. When someone sees your avatar, they should immediately think of your blog - there should be a recognizable connection. Once you have your avatar set, do not change it unless you have to. Again, this is about branding. Your avatar is what shows up in everyone's timeline whenever you tweet. If it is not connected to your blog's branding, you are missing an opportunity.
Your Header Photo
I am referring to the space on your Twitter profile page above your avatar. This is what Twitter calls your header photo. This is less important than your avatar, but it is still a great opportunity for branding. Consider designing a custom graphic for this space, but at the very least, this too should remind people of your blog. It is free blog advertising, and you should be utilizing it.
I continue to be shocked at the number of atheists, including some atheist bloggers, I see on Twitter complaining about low follower numbers who have no bio at all. Why would anybody bother to follow someone with a blank Twitter bio? They wouldn't. They shouldn't. Fix this now! Consider using the slogan or tagline of your blog if you cannot think of anything else. Your bio is your single-best opportunity to tell others why they should follow you. I would encourage you to give people who visit your profile page an idea of the kind of content they should expect to see if they follow you.
Scan Your Recent Tweets
Now that you have an avatar, header photo, and bio that reflect your brand and communicate something of value to those who visit your profile page, it is time to take a look at what you have been tweeting. Right below your header photo, you'll see "Tweets," "Tweets & replies," and "Media." Click on "Tweets" to make sure that is what we are looking at.
Are Your Tweets Consistent with Your Bio?
Scroll down through your recent tweets and ask yourself whether the sort of content you have been tweeting recently is generally consistent with whatever your bio says. If I visited your Twitter profile, read your bio, and followed you because I thought you sounded like a good bet, would I be happy with your recent tweets or might I feel like I had been misled.
I know this scenario will strike many of you as unlikely, but I cannot tell you the number of times I have followed someone because their bio convinced me that they were a reasonable atheist with a strong interest in church-state activism only to discover that almost all of their tweets were some combination of name-calling and tribalistic political outrage. It is not that you cannot tweet about a wide variety of topics, but ideally, there should be some overlap between what your bio says and what you tweet about. If it looks like this is an issue, consider revising your bio to better reflect your content.
An Honest Self-Evaluation
The last thing I am going to suggest in this post may be the most challenging because it requires some willingness to engage in some honesty and self-criticism. As you are scrolling through your recent tweets, ask yourself the following questions:
- Would I like to see more (or less) of this sort of thing in my Twitter timeline?
- How do I feel about what I have been tweeting lately? Am I proud of it, ashamed of it, or something else?
- If I had to describe my typical tone, how would I do so? Do I come across as reasonable most of the time?
- Am I providing others who see my tweets with good reasons to visit my blog?